Until 25 of March 2012 – Musee Ariana, Geneva
Monica Guggisberg (Bern, 1955) and Philip Baldwin (New York, 1947) have worked together for over thirty years, forming an exceptionally long-lasting artistic duo. Internationally-renowned artists and master glassmakers, they have explored the techniques of glass in order to develop a fascinating aesthetic of forms and colours sublimated by the mastered articulation of light. The exhibition presents new pieces, centered around their new boats, including a monumental boat, 9 metres long and laden with amphorae and objects of memory, the quintessence of the artists’ latest work.
From incised vases design models
The display continues along more well-known themes in the glassmakers’ repertory : the blown, multi-layered and then incised vases, the majestic sentinels and the sculptural installations of multicoloured spheres. Two multimedia installations highlight aspects of the creative process in the studio. Several extracts from the film Fire Glass, Monica Guggisberg – Philip Baldwin, Verriers made in 2007 by the filmmaker Pierre Kalbfuss have been rearranged for the occasion. Baldwin & Guggisberg have also collaborated with the design world, creating models for prestigious firms such as Venini, Rosenthal and Steuben. Some earlier items are presented in showcases, next to more historical works : a retrospective look at the one-off pieces or series created in the Nonfoux studio and at the objects produced for the firm Nestlé.
The artists met in 1979 at the Orrefors glassworks in Sweden, where they were studying glassmaking. In 1982, they had already established the first independent glass studio in Switzerland, at Nonfoux in the Canton of Vaud. In 2001, they decided to set up in Paris, where they still work today. Throughout their careers, Baldwin & Guggisberg have experimented with the different glass disciplines : craft, design, sculpture, art and architecture. They have updated, transformed and adapted – often in unexpected and completely original ways – highly diverse techniques, notably by combining Scandinavian-inspired blown, multi-layered and hot-coloured glass with the Venetian cold-cutting process (battuto). Three quarters of the objects exhibited are recent creations, centred on the symbolism of boats. Combining glass, metal and wood, this work begun in 2009 is the fifth episode in their production extending over three decades.
Travel and time
It evokes the artists’ migratory practices as well as those of people over time. This theme, always dear to Baldwin & Guggisberg, conveys their favourite topics such as the journey (real or inner), memory and the philosophic notion of “passage”. From this heritage emerges a wide variety of objects ranging from table arts to sculptural and monumentalinstallations.Visitors will stroll through an alley of vases decorated with wheel-incised motifs of geometric designs produced in cooperation with the Ferro studio in Murano. Shimmering coloured spheres, in the form of mobiles, installations or lights, will be displayed in different areas of the museum. Groups of oblong sculptures, organic in shape, rise up to meet the spectator and celebrate the incredible elasticity of glass.